QUICKEN LOANS ARENA, CLEVELAND, OH — This is a continuation of the halftime recap of the Golden State Warriors at the Cleveland Cavaliers, Game 4 of the 2017 NBA Finals.
The Cavs took an 86-68 lead into halftime.
Q3: Theatrics Brought To A Crawl
The Warriors got off to a strong start as Stephen Curry dribbled his way through a double-team for a stop-and-pop that trickled in, then after LeBron James couldn’t connect on a fade-away inside against Klay Thompson, Curry ran pick-and-roll with Draymond Green and Green got a layup uncontested down the right side:
Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue called a quick timeout 45 seconds into the quarter as his lead went down to 86-72.
But out of the timeout, on a Kyrie Irving miss, Kevin Love got a tap, and Irving got the re-feed up top for a triple.
Then after a Durant miss from the corner on a cross-court pass from Curry that went too high to Draymond, James bounced a behind-the-back pass inside to Tristan Thompson, who took his time, and finally fed Love again for three from the corner.
Steve Kerr gave three fingers to the referee to no avail, wanting the three-second call on Thompson that never came.
Later, Steph got a steal, but Klay fed KD, who missed a triple, and LeBron went full steam ahead with numbers, scooping the ball off the backboard for a dunk after hanging in the air:
Curry immediately found Durant for a two-hand smash at the other end, but the arena was already buzzing.
A few sequences later, Klay hit a three from the top on a side out from Durant, but the lead was still 96-80, Cavs, with 8:02 remaining.
Love hit another three on a pass from Tristan Thompson inside and on the other end, Love fouled Durant hard…
…got assessed a Flagrant One, and James and KD went jawing at each other…
…resulting in double technicals.
However, Durant only hit one of two free throws, then Durant got a two-hand jam down the lane after a Steph couldn’t quite handle a touchdown pass from Draymond.
Love posted up Green, who got called for a phantom foul, then a technical, which was his second. However, the refs changed the previous technical assessment earlier in the game to Warriors head coach Steve Kerr although there was plenty of confusion in the process and the crowd had already waved goodbye to Draymond, who had already beckoned the crowd:
After some empty possessions where Klay and J.R. Smith traded missed treys, KD finally hit from down low after missing twice under the hoop, but Tristan drew Draymond’s fifth foul.
A coast-to-coast layup by Curry kept Golden State within striking distance, down 104-91 with 2:49 to play, going into a timeout.
But Steph missed one of two on a draw after the layup, Richard Jefferson willed a runner past Shaun Livingston, Kyle Korver hit a catch-and-shoot triple on swing passes from Jefferson to Deron Williams to Iman Shumpert.
Then after KD missed a three, Zaza Pachulia got in a scrum for a jump ball and seemed to flail towards the groin at Shumpert, who was standing over him. More altercations resulted from that, the refs reviewed the play, and ruled a double-technical again:
The Warriors got the tip and Curry had a wide-open three, but missed it from the right arc, and Williams hit a three at the other end on a catch, keeping the Cavs ahead, 112-93, with 33 seconds to go.
Steph made a crossover pull-up over Shumpert from the right wing, but LeBron answered that with a pull-up over Andre Iguodala at the buzzer, and the Cavs held a 104-91 cushion heading into the final frame.
Q4: Stars Shine Bright For Cavs
The Warriors bench came through again to start the fourth quarter, as Iguodala fed Klay who fed Patrick McCaw in the corner for three.
Korver missed a triple, then McCaw found Iguodala who found Klay for another three from the right wing, and Lue called a timeout with the Cavs lead down to 115-102 and 10:55 left.
Williams missed a three, but Klay couldn’t hit on his next two tries despite a nice offensive rebound by McCaw on an airball. David West eventually tapped in a missed trickling jumper by McCaw.
But Kyrie hit a three over West, Iguodala missed, and Irving got a lefty layup, forcing Kerr to call timeout with 8:42 remaining, back down 120-104.
Out of the timeout, KD back-rimmed a jumper and Curry missed another three from the corner, then James found Jefferson inside for a score, Klay hit just one of two free throws on an inside up-fake drawing the foul on Irving, and LeBron came back again with a left-side pull-up to keep the margin at 124-105.
Curry went tic-tac-toe to Shaun Livingston to Green, and at the other end, Draymond had Smith pinned on the left arc, late in the shot clock, he airballed, Tristan Thompson got the rebound, but the refs called a foul on the rebound on Livingston.
They reviewed the play and determined the foul had occurred with time still on the shot clock, so the Cavs regained possession. James missed a three, but Livingston was called for another foul as Jefferson rebounded. Irving drove and missed, but Tristan was there again for yet another offensive crash, and nearly two minutes after Klay had made that single free throw, Cleveland had the clock burned down to 5:41 remaining with their lead still at 126-105.
KD got to the line three consecutive trips down the court and also made a nice block on a Kyrie Euro-step…
…but Irving also stopped the Warriors’ pace with a foul take on Curry at halfcourt in transition on a missed post-up by James.
With 3:23 to play, Durant’s aforementioned third trip to the line brought the Warriors to 126-111, but they were running out of time.
Kerr went with Patrick McCaw, who had had a solid game, in for Iguodala, but the Cavs made the extra pass again with Irving breaking down the Warriors’ defense with a drive baseline, finding LeBron, who found Smith at the top.
J.R. delivered, nailing the triple and hammering the proverbial nail in the coffin as the Cavs took a 129-111 lead with 3:18 to go.
Steph tried an answer-back three from the top, missed badly again, McCaw somehow got the rebound again, but Klay’s three was short, and Kyrie stomped on the Golden State coffin with a stop-and-pop over McCaw, forcing Kerr to call timeout with 2:16 left, down 132-111.
Waving the white flag, Kerr inserted his mop-up crew of Ian Clark, Matt Barnes, James McAdoo and JaVale McGee, and Cleveland (1-3) went on to win, 137-116, forcing a Game 5 in three nights at Oracle Arena, where Golden State (3-1) gets a chance to win the Finals on their home court.